Indian food is terrible tweet sparks hot debate about racism

25 Jan

“Indian food is terrible and we pretend it isn’t,” said international affairs professor Tom Nichols.

Critics called his comment a tasteless generalisation.

The remark led to a wider discussion of the immigrant experience and how many in the US have experienced racism in relation to food.

Mr Nichols – who teaches at the US Naval War College in Rhode Island – posted his opinion after another Twitter user had asked for “controversial food opinions”.

Critics were quick to respond. “Do you not have taste buds?” asked celebrity chef Padma Lakshmi.

“Imagine going through life this flavourless,” wrote another commenter.

Preet Bharara, a former prosecutor from New York, tweeted: “Tom, I’ll take you to a place. We need to bring the country together. #ButterChickenSummit.”

The surprising truth about Indian food

Others said Mr Nichols had probably tried “less than 1%” of all Indian dishes, which come from a hugely diverse country. Mr Nichols later admitted that he had only ever eaten at Indian restaurants in the US and UK.

Mr Nichols’ initial tweet led to a wider discussion about the way food plays into the immigrant experience.

Some noted that in the US, international food – sometimes called “ethnic food” – is often marketed as “cheap eats”. Therefore many people are more familiar with pared-down, “Americanised” street dishes that lack authentic ingredients.

“There is no ‘Indian’ food’,” wrote one commenter.

“Also there is no curry flavour. There is no chai tea,” she added, referring to the fact that chai is simply a word meaning “tea” in Hindi, and “curry” is a style of dish, rather than a flavouring.

Others pointed out how smell and flavour have long been prevalent in racist comments towards minorities, and accused Mr Nichols of intolerance.

First-generation American Saira Rao wrote: “Having white people trash Indian food is extremely triggering as an Indian who has been told that I smell weird, that my food smells weird and that Indians [expletive] on the street which is why everything we are smells bad.”

As the story drew attention in Indian media, the hashtag #MyFavoriteIndianFood started trending.

US presidential candidate Kamala Harris, whose mother’s family hails from south India, shared a teaser for a cooking video with comedian Mindy Kaling using the hashtag.

But some foodies dismissed the row outright saying simply: “I see someone on twitter has racist views on Indian food. Well, more for me then.”

Others took similar issue with a “controversial food” tweet from ABC senior reporter Terry Moran, who said: “Chinese food is tired. It’s boring, gloppy, over-salted and utterly forgettable.”

One person replied to his tweet: “Oh Lord here we go again with bubble-inhabiting white guy, announcing his pathetic ignorance of an entire cuisine and its myriad regional varieties”.

Asian food lovers rounded on Moran, accusing him of having only eaten at takeout restaurants and never tasted authentic cuisine from the most populated country on Earth.

8 Of Our Best Recipes For Garlic Lovers To Try

26 Nov

There are two or three ingredients that get wonderfully assimilated in the kitchens and palates of regions around the world and garlic is one of them. One of the most widely used flavour-enhancers by various global cuisines, garlic is essentially an underground root bulb, similar to onions, leeks and shallots. Did you know that it is also one of the oldest cultivated plants by humans? This is probably another reason for garlic’s widespread appeal and its indispensable nature, when it comes to cooking a wide variety of dishes. One can recognise the smell of garlic from quite a distance, due to its uniquely pungent aroma that is quite strong. But not everyone loves this versatile underground vegetable. Some people may crinkle their noses if their dishes turn out to be too ‘garlicky’.
But if you are anything like us, you could probably vouch for the delicious transformation that even a little bit of garlic can bring about in a dish. Although not everyone may find the taste and flavour of garlic desirable and tasty, it sure comes with a whole range of health benefits as well. This is why a number of ancient medicinal systems revere garlic and include it in a number of home remedies for big and small ailments. Strictly from a cooking point of view though, garlic has been a highly-valued commodity that is used in both fresh and dried forms in kitchens around the world.

Best Garlic Recipes

There are a number of classic garlic dishes that the world has come to love and if you’re someone who loves the smell and taste of garlic then you’ll love what we have in store for you- eight of our best, most-loved garlic recipes to try!

From fried rice to garlic bread, our recipes make the best of garlic’s delicious pungency, making this unassuming ingredient shine on:

1. Egg and Garlic Fried Rice Recipe
One of the most dependable weekend indulgence, this egg and garlic fried rice is both comforting and delicious. Make this for friends for a weekend get-together and enjoy with a side of sautéed vegetables and meat or a generous helping of the spicy Sichuan sauce.

2. Garlic Prawns Recipe
This dish is so delicious, you won’t believe how incredibly easy it is to make! All you need to do is marinate your de-shelled prawns in a garlic marinade and then cook them in sesame oil, till they’re well done.

3. Soya Garlic Chicken Recipe
A delicious Main, this soya garlic chicken is sure to satiate your cravings for some Indian-style Chinese food. A relatively simple recipe, this one will fit in well at a sumptuous family dinner as well as a quiet weekend meal for two.

4. Garlic Lamb Chops Recipe
You may want to reserve this one for a slightly fancier occasion. You can fool your guests into thinking you are a pro-chef by making this simple, yet delicious red meat dish that is sure to leave anyone impressed.

5. Chilli Garlic Wings Recipe
This recipe is for the time you have to prepare for a game night at your house. All you need to do is prepare a simple garlic-flavoured batter for your wings, marinate them in the batter and then deep-fry and serve fresh off the wok!

6. Chilli Garlic Fish Recipe
Another beloved protein that garlic can be best buds with is fish. This recipe is cooked with boneless basa that is marinated in a yummy marinade of tahini, garlic, chili, etc., and then grilled till the fish is cooked through.

7. Mushrooms In Hot Garlic Sauce Recipe
A delicious vegetarian Main, mushrooms in hot garlic sauce makes for a great curry for when you need a break from the regular lentil curries. It’s easy to prepare and tastes great with both rice and flatbreads.

8. Multi-Grain Garlic Bread Recipe
Arguably one of the best all-occasion appetisers, garlic bread is loved by almost everyone. The delicious crisp bread, topped with baked cheese and crushed garlic cloves is irresistible.

How You Could Add Cherries To It

25 Sep


By the year 2030, about 98 million Indians are estimated to develop diabetes, according to a study published in the journal Lancet. Diabetes is fast becoming one of the most rampant causes of concern in the world of health and nutrition. It is characterised by elevated blood sugar (glucose) levels. If you are a diabetic, or know someone who is suffering from the condition, you would know that diabetics need to be extra careful about their diet. Sugary food, processed food, aerated beverages are packed with added sugar that could cause blood sugar fluctuations. It is advisable for diabetics to load up on local, seasonal fruits and vegetables; preferably the foods with a low glycaemic index. Fresh cherries may do wonders to keep your blood sugar spikes in control.

Sure, you have seen them sitting pretty on desserts, but on their own, cherries are a treasure trove of antioxidants and minerals. Cherries are packed with anti-inflammatory properties that could help relieve pain and discomfort in the body. Packed with antioxidants, they may also help bolster your immunity. Cherries contain significant amount of melatonin, essential for a smooth sleep-wake cycle. Additionally, they could be an ideal choice for diabetics too. According to the book, ‘Healing Foods’ by DK Publishing House, “Tart cherries may be useful in treating diabetes. Their abundant antioxidant anthocyanins can increase insulin production, helping regulate blood sugar levels.”

As per a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, anthocyanins present in cherries, may significantly pump up insulin production. Cherries are also high on fibres and have a low GI value. The natural sugar present in cherries metabolises slowly and prevents sugar spikes.

Here’s how you can include it in your diabetic diet:

1. Smoothies
Take some yogurt, some fresh pitted cherries, strawberries, blueberries, chia seeds and almonds in a blender and blend until smooth. It is advisable not to add sugar or honey in your smoothie, for it may elevate your blood sugar levels.

2. Salads
You can toss some fresh cherries in your green leafy salad (Think: arugula, lettuce and rocket leaves). Throw in some feta, some seeds and healthy dressing of your choice and you are good to go.

3. Cereals
Morning cereals need not always be a bland and boring affair. Top them with fresh cherries and nuts, and enjoy the yumminess.

4. Yogurt
Yogurt with fresh fruits is any day a better alternative to packaged flavoured yogurt you find in market. Take some pitted cherries and use them to top your bowl of yogurt. We bet you are going to love this fruity punch!

5 Best Summer Fruits You Can Grill To Please Your Sweet Tooth

23 Aug


Summer season is at its peak and there is absolutely no dearth of fresh summer produce out there. Be it veggies or fruits, there are various summer delights available during this time of the year that can be experimented with in numerous ways. How about tossing up your favourite summer fruits on the grill? The coal fire will caramelise the natural sugar in the fruit, bringing out the best of flavours, giving it an exotic touch. The aromatic and juicy taste of caramelised fruits is undoubtedly heavenly and is also a healthier alternative to those high-calorie sweet dishes.

Here is a list of 5 summer fruits that can be used to make delectable grilled desserts:

1.Grilled Pineapple
This tropical fruit is an incredibly delicious fruit that offers incredible health benefits at the same time. While there is no denying the fact that pineapple is an immensely versatile fruit, you can now introduce the goodness of pineapple to desserts as well. Just brush those pineapple slices with some honey or brown sugar, and grease the barbecue grill with some olive or canola oil and toast it for a few minutes. Grilled pineapple is ready to be served. You can try sprinkling some cinnamon powder over it to enhance its flavours. This dish can be served as is or with a scoop of ice-cream as well.

2.Grilled Peaches
Grilled peaches make for a delicious yet simple dessert. Grilling brings out the intensified sweet taste of the fruit and takes less time in getting cooked as well. You can grill peaches with both peels on or off. Cut them into two pieces and brush them with some oil. Then grill them for a few minutes and sprinkle some cinnamon or cocoa powder. You can also try drizzling some raw honey and yoghurt over the dessert.

3.Grilled Bananas
To begin with, cut the bananas lengthwise into two halves. Don’t remove the peel, grease it with a little oil and grill it for few minutes. Now, brush a little honey and sprinkle some cinnamon over it and grill it again for another few minutes until the banana gets tender. You can serve it as is or pair it with a scoop of vanilla or butterscotch ice-cream.

4.Grilled Watermelon
Watermelon is one of the most relished summer fruits. It’s available in abundance during summers and is loved by kids and adults alike. Ever thought of grilling this summer delight? Grilled watermelon tastes great and is quite appealing to the eyes as well. Cut the watermelon into half-circular slices, and grease them with some olive oil. Place it over the grill. You can sprinkle some sugar crystals and drizzle some rose syrup over the slices as well. Garnish it with some fresh mint leaves and your delightful dessert is ready to serve.

5. Grilled Mangoes
Summers and mangoes are synonymous to each other. Let’s give an interesting makeover to everyone’s favourite summer fruit by tossing it up on the grill. Slice up the mangoes in two pieces, brush the juicy pulp with some oil and grill it for a few minutes until slightly roasted. You can try squeezing a little lime juice over it as well.

5 Best Kulcha Recipes To Try

22 Jun


Kulcha Recipes: Gorging on piping hot naans, rotis and parathas for any meal of the day is something all of us would love to do. A part and parcel of a North Indian household, Indian breads incude a variety of such flatbreads which are all simply delicious. One of which is the classic kulcha that is often paired with mouth-watering chole. Kulcha is a variety of leavened Indian flatbread that is mostly found around the northern part of India, especially Punjab.

It is made of maida and a leavening agent, which is mostly yeast. The primary ingredients are then mixed with water and a pinch of salt to form a tight dough and left to rest for a few hours, covered with wet cloth. The result is then pummelled again and rolled flat to be baked in an oven or most commonly in a tandoor to perfection. The final kulcha is then cooked over on a pan with little butter or ghee and savoured with any of the Indian curries. Oh and have you ever tried pairing kulchas with a bowl of curd in summers? The soft and chewy kulcha with curd makes for a light and comforting pair to relish.

Kulchas are super soft in texture and often stuffed with a variety of delicious ingredients such as aloo, vegetables, coriander leaves and much more! There are many varieties of kulchas that are famous across north Indian region. From popular Amritsari kulcha to onion kulcha, there’s absolutely no way you can resist these yummy delights! Let’s look at the many varieties of kulcha that you can also prepare at home to relish with your favourite curries along with family and friends.

Here are 5 Best Kulcha Recipes To Try At Home:

1. Kulcha
Hot and fluffy classic kulcha recipe! Made with flour combined with a frothy yeast mixture and curd with a pinch of salt and sugar, the kulcha dough is flattened and baked for a few minutes to perfection. This kulcha recipe would be great when roasted and paired with a bowl of mouth-watering chole.

2. Amritsari Kulcha
A crispy, true blue Punjabi delight, Amritsari kulcha is one kulcha recipe that you can have all day in any meal from breakfast to dinner. Stuffed generously with all things flavourful, onion, ginger, green chilli, coriander, anaardana and lemon juice are combined with potatoes and packed into this amazing kulcha. It is roasted with butter over the pan to crispy hot. Pair this Amritsari kulcha recipe with a curry of your choice along with onion rings and pickle that would instantly tickle your taste buds.

3. Chana Kulcha
The classic pair of chana and kulcha! One cannot talk about kulcha without mentioning the chana kulcha recipe. Mouth-watering curry of chickpeas with a burst of eclectic flavours served with a choice of kulcha, you can choose your favourite stuffing or have the plain kulchas.

4. Onion Kulcha
A simple and easy stuffed kulcha recipe, cooked quickly in a microwave. Onion kulcha has a scrumptious combination of stuffing with mint leaves, carom seeds, green chillies, coriander, ginger, red chilli powder and pomegranate seeds along with chopped onions. Grilled in a microwave to a perfect crisp, this kulcha recipe is super quick and delicious!

5. Punjabi Style Nutri Kulcha
Here is a kulcha recipe packed with the goodness of nutri soya chunks! While all the other kulcha combinations would be too mainstream now, this exciting variety would be a welcome change to try at home. It is a delight for all the soya lovers, complete with flavourful ingredients like green chillies, ginger, garlic, onion and tomato sauce along with a melange of hearty spices cooked with nutri. This Punjabi-style nutri kulcha combo is a must-try at your next dinner party.

Hoover kids learn to share ­­– not waste — leftover food

24 Apr


Anyone who has ever prepared food for children knows it’s not always easy to get them to clean their plates or finish a meal.

So you can imagine what it’s like in a school cafeteria, where kids decide for themselves when they’re done and what they will or won’t eat.

Lots of food gets thrown away, but Hoover schools have joined a host of schools across the country that are trying to prevent food waste by implementing what they call “share tables.”

When kids get through eating, if they still have food left over, they can put certain food and drink items on the share table for someone else to pick up.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture does, however, have specific best practices they encourage schools to use if they have share tables, and Hoover schools follow those guidelines, child nutrition director Melinda Bonner said.

Children can only put whole pieces of fruit or unopened prepackaged items, such as a bag of baby carrots or sliced apples, on the share table. Unopened milk or juice containers also are accepted and are put in a container of ice to keep them cool.

At the end of the day, any leftover milk is discarded and food items are donated to Magic City Harvest, a nonprofit that gathers leftover food from grocery stores, restaurants, schools and hospitals and distributes it to agencies that feed people, Bonner said.

But most Hoover schools find ways to distribute leftover food to their own students who need or want it, she said.

At Trace Crossings Elementary, enrichment teacher Jodi Tofani carries the food to her classroom, where kids use it for snacks. Special education teachers who work in her hall get food for their students who might need it, she said. With the exception of two milk bottles, “every single Friday, it’s all gone.”

At Simmons Middle School, child nutrition manager Teresa Short typically carries about 100 items left over from the share table to the bus lines and offers food for kids to take home with them.

“Even though we’re Hoover, we know that children go home and don’t have snacks,” Short said. “It might be a long time ‘til momma comes home and cooks. … We’re trying anything that could help our kids get through to supper.”

Usually, all the food is taken, she said.

Simmons was one of the first Hoover schools to implement share tables, doing so in the 2017-18 school year, Short said. Now, all the schools offer them, Bonner said.

Tofani, at Trace Crossings, said the program required a little bit of training. Kids had to learn they couldn’t take a bite out of an apple and still put it on the share table, she said.

Older students in her enrichment classes made signs to explain the rules and help supervise the table to make sure all the kids know what can and can’t go there.

Tofani’s students counted one day, and there were 158 items donated, she said. Juice, fruit and milk were the main items donated, but sometimes kids will share other things, she said.

Exactly half of those items were picked up by other students during meal times, and the other half were distributed throughout the day, she said. More items are donated during breakfast because by lunchtime, more kids have developed a full appetite, she said.

J.M. Galbraith, one of the fourth-graders who helps with the share table, said most of the children who put food on the table are kindergartners, while the older kids are the ones who take things off of it.

Leilani Bell, a second-grader at Trace Crossings, said she thinks the share table is great. Sometimes, she doesn’t want her cereal, so she’ll put it on the share table so somebody else can have it, she said.

Otherwise, “that’s just wasting your money,” she said. “You have to pay for this food.”

Another time, she picked up a chocolate milk from the share table for herself, she said.

Annabelle Hudson, another second-grader, said she has given to and taken from the share table as well. “I think it’s very kind to share all the food because sharing is caring,” she said.

Japanese food that will keep you warm during winter

27 Feb


Winter in Tokyo can offer some sunny days with beautiful blue skies, but it comes at a cost, with the average temperature hanging somewhere between 2 and 10 degrees Celsius. Well, you’ve been out exploring or maybe you were taking refuge in a museum for the morning, but it’s lunchtime in Tokyo and you’re hungry. Don’t stand out in the cold and wonder what to eat, read on for 8 Japanese foods that will warm you up during winter in Tokyo.

1) Ramen
Be careful not to burn your mouth, a hot bowl of ramen will certainly fill you up and warm you up at the same time. Chinese-style wheat noodles, meat, vegetables and a sheet of nori (seaweed) come together in a hearty broth. It’s the perfect meal for colder weather. Basic broths, such as miso or tonkotsu pork are always a safe bet, and usually, you can add in some condiments like garlic and pepper to bring it to the next level. Warm udon or soba, of course, might do a similar job (ask for “atatakai,” meaning “warm”), but a thick ramen broth, soft-boiled egg, and a fat slice of chashu (pork) really feels like a cozy hug. With a side of gyoza dumplings hot off the pan, you’ll be toasty in no time. Try a bowl of tantanmen, ramen with a spicy kick, if it’s especially cold out.

2) Nabe
The term “nabemono” or “nabe” covers all kinds of hot pot style foods, referring to soup-based meals made in a communal pot. When winter rolls around in Japan, it becomes time to whip out the nabe pot and eat together around the kotatsu (heated table). Warming for the belly and the heart, meat with vegetables and noodles cooked together in a hot broth is best shared with family or friends. Typically in restaurants, a large communal pot sits on a portable stove or one built into the table, and the nabe cooks in front of you and your dining companions while you chat. The longer your nabe cooks, the more intensely the flavors of the soup develop. Nabe has a really cozy image that goes hand in hand with cold weather in Japan.

3) Shabu Shabu
“Shabu shabu” is an onomatopoeic word in Japanese for the “swish swish” sound of dipping and flipping slices of meat in the boiling nabe broth. In this variation of hot pot, the meat comes in thin slices so they can be cooked quickly and then dipped into your choice of sauces. Some restaurants offer a pot with two or more sections so that you can have different types of soup. Bases range from miso and soy sauce to yuzu citrus, as well as other variants like spicy kimchi or creamy tofu milk. Adding in vegetables like green onions, kinoko (mushrooms), noodles, and tofu cubes makes for a healthy, tasty and toasty group dinner.

4) Sukiyaki
Another nabe variant, sukiyaki is a sweet-flavored nabemono that is cooked in a cast iron pot right at the table. Sukiyaki consists of meats, green vegetables, and different styles of tofu, simmered in a base soup made of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Udon or mochi rice cakes are often in the mix too, as well as clear glass noodles made from konnyaku root, called ito (“string”) konnyaku. Daikon radish, to soak in the sauce, and a variety of kinoko mushrooms are also typically used in sukiyaki. Once it is ready, you are meant to eat the meat by dipping it in raw egg first!

5) Japanese Curry
Japan is more commonly known for its delicate flavors and subtle textures, but an unusual food that has developed into its own realm is Japanese curry. Often including hearty chunks of meat, carrots, and potatoes, it is really a perfect comfort food during the winter months. Homey and filling, curry rice often comes with your choice of katsu (a panko-coated cutlet) or agemono (deep-fried foods). Curry udon, a noodle alternative, also hits the spot on a cold day. To ramp up the heat, sprinkle some shichimi-togarashi on top (a chili pepper spice mix with seven ingredients). For the hardcore curry addicts, the chain restaurant Coco-Curry has stores spread across the city and allows you to choose the spiciness level. Not just by Japan standards, even the low levels from one to three pack a punch. Level 10 is truly not for the faint of heart, but apparently, if you can conquer it, you can keep the spoon.

6) Chukaman (Steamed Buns)
Bonus Tip: If you are on the run and need a hot snack, the chukaman, or warm steamed buns, sold at convenience stores are perfect for a little pick-me-up between meals. Nikuman (meat-filled steam buns) or kareman (curry-filled steam buns) are always tasty, but you can even get pizza flavored buns or sweet buns with anko (red bean paste) filling.

Level-Up Bonus Tip: Try the oden at the konbini and you’ll really feel like a Tokyo local.

7) Oden
Hang on, let’s just backtrack a moment. Convenience store oden? Are you sure?
Yes! If you’d like a hot snack on the go, try picking up some oden to-go. Usually, oden items are displayed in self-service stainless steel warmers near the registers. It’s warm and delicious, easy access, quite cheap and you just pay per piece.

So, let’s track forwards, what is oden?
Strongly associated with wintertime, oden is a soup-based traditional Japanese food. Inside a light dashi soup stock flavored with soy sauce, a variety of tofu, boiled eggs, and vegetables float are submerged and infused by the umami broth flavors. You can find fish cakes of all shapes and sizes too, and you can choose which individual pieces you’d like to try. Get warmed up by the soup, while enjoying the different intriguing textures of the separate ingredients. Of course, home-cooked oden is the best way to have it, but you can find it at izakayas and specialty stores too.

8) Mochi
Finally, if you feel like a little snack, grab some mochi. Mochi can be enjoyed any time of the year, but particularly during in the winter months, yakimochi is wonderful on a cold day at a temple or shrine. These pounded rice cakes are grilled usually over a charcoal fire, puffing as they warm. Starchy and filling, there is something about its gooey texture and winter that go hand in hand.